Sunday, 24 January 2016

Week 3

First things first. Cardamom buns! The museum cafe is back open and serving cardamom buns. These are new to me - they're made of a bread dough, the colour of brown sugar, flavoured with cardomom and I suspect cinnamon and served warm and they're absolutely delicious.

While I ate my bun and waited for Debbie and Cat I sketched this out. My drawing skills aren't all that great - but I wanted a visual way of expressing something I'd been sensing more and more - that our feelings about migration and about the interaction within the human world and between the human and natural world are strongly linked to how we view the connectedness of the world. 

While we were discussing this and the idea that in early human societies the need to trade and exchange must have formed much of the basis for migration - and also that none of us have what we need. Solely we can achieve very little - the greater our ambition, the greater our need to co-operate. Cat wondered if we could mimic that in a word game where children had to trade cards to get the words they would need to create sentences. It reminded me a bit of 'Fish', a game we used to play as children, or 'Old Maid' without the maid (and obviously I like positive messages about single middle-aged women these days!). 

Sitting there eating my bun (I told you the bun was important) and drinking coffee I thought about how even our breakfast involves the contribution of a whole parade of souls - including the cow. There's a poem there!

Debbie also handed over a special camera for me to try. It's a Polaroid camera except it prints out stickers. We talked about how we might use this in a workshop based around the questions I used last week to write the poemlets. We also talked about using the ipods for the same job - so I get to test out an ipod (I'm an android user) and practice using Frame Artist. 

Then I went back up to the money gallery - a gallery I hadn't previously realised existed. I came to it through the live reptiles and frogs, which has always been the end point of my visits. I went back to have another look at this. 

This is a contract on papyrus from Egypt in the 1st century BC. It's an artist's contract committing to perform at a number of festivals in return for a set fee. I've got a drawer full of these - though none of them on papyrus. 

I also spotted him. He's Hermes, the God of traders and travellers. I thought I might write a poem about him too. 

When I started this project faced with the two themes of Water and Migration I was tempted to spend most time on water because the subject of Migration is so fraught. But it occurs to me that if it's place in it's historical, global and natural context it becomes less so. I spoke to Tania from Sustain Education about this and she agrees that maybe school's would be helped by having a way into those discussions. It's very topical. And there is, I think, a moral imperative. They're tricky things, both in poetry and in education, so it needs to be handled carefully. 

I went back through to see the tree frogs. I thought about the evolution of fish, amphibia and reptiles and about how that movement from sea to land is a kind of migration. Nearly every textbook talks about 'conquering' the land. That's weird when you think of it. I started to think about the language that was used - invasion, colonisation, exploration - for more or less the same thing. Could I use these in the card game. Dare I give these words scores - using the highest for the most or the least manipulative? 

Back through Nature's Library, I started to notice things (particularly plants and invertebrates) named after other things. This is a kind of migration of ideas, which I suppose is what a metaphor is. Could a writing exercise be based on naming? Here are some of them - I love that there's a chocolate chip starfish!



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